Monday, August 18, 2014

#TentFashion: My Own Nugget of Truth

How do you define fashion?

Is it the intricate and detailed haute couture at Chanel or Giambattista Valli?
Is it (dare I say it?) the fast fashion that is forever changing at stores like H&M and Zara?
Is it a staple LBD or a trendy asymmetrical skirt?

The truth is: I couldn't tell you.

I may live and breathe fashion, but its definition remains ambiguous and that has never been more clear to me than during this past week.

Allow me to explain.

This week, I participated in an event called Tent Fashion that brought Jews from across North America together with one common interest. Each of us were drawn to the event due to its connection to our own personal definition of fashion and the impact it has on our lives. For some, fashion was about change and innovation. It was about creating something meaningful that resonates with our own thoughts and beliefs. For others, it was about self-expression. It was about escaping the norm and inspiring boldness in a conservative community. For me, it was about discovery. It was about learning that fashion has a fluid definition that can never stay stagnant because it is an industry in constant evolution. While to some, Roots sweatpants and Tiffany bracelets are fashion, to others, these are simply material possessions or a right of passage at Jewish camp.

Each one of us has felt disconnected from our communities at some point in our young adult lives. Whether we were being told "Why are you dressed so fancy?" or "What's up with those hebrew letters tattooed on your arm?", our version of self-expression was inadequate to someone somewhere at some social function. However, I've come to discover that this is exactly what fashion is about. Fashion doesn't have to be defined. It should make eyebrows rise and pupils dilate.

Another thing we all had in common was that we were Jewish and inherently part of a larger community despite some of us feeling somewhat disconnected. Regardless of our common religion, we were all different in the way we dressed, spoke, or thought. There's a misconception that Jewish people look a certain way and that you either look Jewish or you don't based on certain characteristics constructed by society. This event made it very clear that Jews are just as difficult to define as fashion and therein lies the connection. We may have all been Jewish, but we're also people with individual characteristics, interests, and connections to fashion. You may not be wearing a streimel, but does that make you any less Jewish? Isn't it possible to have a Jewish identity and fashion identity that are separate from one another? Or perhaps they are intertwined in some subconscious way that we are unaware of.

Tent Fashion wasn't just a program bringing Jewish artists together, but an eye-opener about the importance of diversity in fashion. If everyone were designing the same thing, where would fashion be? We're all trying to identify with something that makes us feel unique, while staying connected to our common traits. That's what makes us human. If you attempted to define fashion, you'd come to realize that it's as silly as trying to define the word "funny". It's all relative and ever-changing. If your mom is laughing at your jokes, it IS possible that she isn't just doing it to make you happy, but because you may actually be funny. Stop second guessing yourself and just follow your instincts. If YOU think something is fashion and if YOU think you're funny, isn't that all that matters anyway?

Ponder that,



No comments:

Post a Comment